Friday, May 31, 2013

Searching for Sugar Daddy

I should update my blog more often. People like Dr. Sam Tsang encouraged me to update my blog. So here I am.

For the past few years, I've been quite busy switching my opinion on another medium, i.e. facebook. Facebook has pros and cons. On the good side, it's quick and I can type Chinese fast. But on the other hand, it's a very public forum and people can criticize you right away within seconds.

I'm not the type of people who are afraid of being criticized. In fact, when I post something controversial, I expect to be criticized, but I often have reasons to defend myself, and often my opponents fail within 1 to 2 attempts. The point is, even though facebook is a very thought-provoking medium, one still needs to use a lot of time and effort to respond to the meatheads leaving you comments on your own thread on your own timeline on your own wall. And THAT takes time.

Maybe that's why I haven't had time to write something remotely coherent for a year or two.

Now that I get my romantic chills back, I have decided to lay low on facebook for awhile and instead choose to use this old-fashioned platform to let out some of my opinionated thoughts. This is for the elite, for those who aren't afraid to read long-windedness in English, and for those who welcome challenging thoughts.

So my heart goes to Rodriguez!!! I stumbled upon this wonderful documentary film called "Searching for Sugar Man" all of a sudden. I vaguely heard that it was the Oscar winner for Best Documentary this year and it was about a musician that was underrated and had been in the recluse for awhile. So that's my kind of movies.

And wow! Not only was I pleasantly surprised, but I also burst into tears at least 3 to 4 times during the movie. I was amazed by the filmmakers' and the music historians' persistence to find this Rodriguez guy, after so many years of not being in the limelight. Rodriguez was a musician/poet/sing-songwriter not unlike the style of Bob Dylan who released 2 albums in the early 70's to little success. His albums didn't sell well in America. Sussex Records dropped him off the label. He went on drifting on the streets and occasionally doing some demolition and renovation work in Detroit - well, the typical anti-American dream story!

The guy has disappeared for almost 30 to 40 years.

Who would have thought that his albums were actually a hit in South Africa, selling more than half a million copies, which indirectly influenced to entire anti-apartheid movement in the 80's, thereby overthrowing the then authoritarian South African dictatorship. Who would have thought? So in South Africa, almost no one has not heard of Rodriguez, and he became the hero of political activism. But the key is, Rodriguez knew nothing about his success in South Africa, until the filmmakers and the historians gave him the good news some 40 years later.

Rodriguez's overnight success may seem like a Cinderella story, but what has that got to do with me?

Well, first, Rodriguez didn't want recognition. At least that is not the most important thing to him. His fame came late and was long overdue, but it came. So that gives me hope.

I've been working hard on music for the past 5 to 6 years. I'm sometimes being trapped by the phenomenon known as "recognition." Of course, no one dislikes being recognized. But sometimes, the lack of recognition hinders my drive to create better music.

What I get out of the movie is that Rodriguez does not need recognition (albeit he appreciates it), but he is just grateful that he is still making music and that he is doing what he loves to do.

That gives me inspiration!

My life's goal is to search for people like Rodriguez, people who are geniuses but are forgotten by most. I've managed to have done that with my last album "The Chung Brothers Sing the Gospel Songbook of Benjamin Ng." I will continue to do that with our new album, and that's going to shock!

But most of all, my life's goal is also to search for the sugar man within myself. To search for the innocence that is within me that attracted me to music in the first place. And the search for a greater humanity!

Thank you Rodriguez for helping me find the Sugar Man within myself.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reaffirmed jazz aficionado

After my much needed relaxing trip to Taipei, I have re-affirmed myself as a jazz aficionado, an identity I seem to have lost in the past 3 to 4 years, largely due to the fact there aren't many world-class jazz musicians traveling to HK on a regular basis, unlike the jazz capitol of Asia, Tokyo. But that's not entirely true. I did have the privilege to witness the great Roy Hargrove, Hendrik Meurkens, Dr. John, David Sanborn, Joey DeFrancesco, Dianne Reeves, Joshua Redman, Renee Rosnes live in action.

But I miss the intimate jazz club atmosphere of Blue Note, Village Vanguard, and Iridium in New York City, or some of the other great jazz holes-in-the-wall in Washington D.C., e.g. the recently closed U-Topia. It's not the same listening to jazz in the Culture Centre where the audience is very polite and shy rendering the musicians play too polite and shy. That's not to say the musicians don't reveal their true colors. In a setting like the very nurtured and cultured HK auditorium or hall, musicians tend to be as meticulous and careful and courteous, as they do not want to offend the seemingly classical-trained audience. But jazz concerts should be unlike classical concerts. The chemistry between the musicians should spark the interactions between the musicians and the audience. That big part of it is missing in HK. Even in a small jazz setting like Peel Fresco in HK, sometimes I get thrilled by some exceptional fine playing from some musicians, but mostly the performance is formulaic, uninspired and square. This is, of course, not the musicians' fault. It's more like the audience do not know how to appreciate jazz in a small setting.

Needless to say, jazz education in HK is lackluster. The people playing jazz on radio are few and far between. There are very few CD stores that sell serious jazz music. Even HMV's jazz selection has deterioriated tremendously over the years. There's only one jazz program (Jazzing Up on RTHK4) once a week, lasting for one hour. How can you nurture a well-groomed jazz audience with just one hour per week? What songs should you choose? Which artists should be focused?

On that basis, Taiwan is better than HK by several miles. At least they have jazz-oriented cafes. They ahve some locally-produced jazz albums. Their appreciation of jazz is more sophisticated, evidenced by the fact they clap at the right places after solos. After reading some well-written articles by Haruki Murakami (村上春樹), I feel like I am not alone in the jazz listening world.

I will explain/discuss more on the book a later time. But this book reminds me how to listen to jazz. How to appreciate jazz. How to appreciate our surroundings. How to appreciate life. After all, jazz is just that symbolic thing that remind us what life is to me. Jazz is just an intergral part of me.

Without jazz, the air that I breathe is not exactly oxygen!



Monday, November 21, 2011

鍾氏兄弟 X 劉卓威 THE FUSION 音樂會

香港首個古典X爵士X流行X福音 fusion音樂盛會
音樂達人遇上結他才子 傾力打造完美樂章
17/12/2011 (星期六) 7:30 pm
18/12/2011 (星期日) 7:30 pm

樂壇天后 謝安琪 (星期六)
二胡大師 霍世潔 (星期日)
古典鋼琴大師 羅乃新

Billy Chan (Keyboards)
Jezrael Lucero (Piano)
Charles Huntley (Sax)
Paul Panichi (Trumpet)
Barry Chung (Guitar)
Tsang Tak Hong (Bass)
Robbin Harris (Drums)

地點: 香港理工大學 賽馬會綜藝館
門券:$280/ $180(*$120)/ $130 (*$80)
<快達票購票> 11月5日公開發售!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

點評《2011 CASH金帆音樂獎之最佳歌曲、最佳旋律》by King Yi

點評《2011 CASH金帆音樂獎之最佳歌曲、最佳旋律》

眾人矚目音樂界盛事之「2011 CASH金帆音樂獎頒獎典禮」於本月十八日隆重舉行,個人偏愛最佳歌曲與最佳旋律兩大獎項,前者我會揀《六月飛霜》,後者選《朋友愛》。

當今樂壇,陳奕迅是一枝獨秀,他是唐代詩仙李白,往往在歌曲中表達他的豪情邁意,感情一蹴而就,不震撼你的心靈,誓不罷休,古馳+舒文+林夕+陳奕迅的鑽石陣容,《六月飛霜》,Sure Win!


另一參選者 Christopher Chak(澤日生),他的成名作是陳奕迅的《富士山下》,亦憑這首曲取得07年CASH最佳旋律,可是澤生近年的作曲水準呈停滯不前,《鍾無艷》、《不吐不快》、《年度之歌》、《披星戴月》、《搜神記》已無新鮮感、變化可言,這次以《你們的幸福》出戰,比《富》遜色,福將謝安琪三度摘下CASH最佳女歌手演繹奬(流行音樂),包括:《亡命之途》(06年)、《17度》(08年)、《年度之歌》(09年),這首歌發揮天后本色,唱功展現起死回生,再配合林夕超水準的歌詞,以「幸福」為題讓港人反省自己是否活於幸福中,扳回不少分數,不過這是我第三選擇吧!


我欣賞的唱作人馮穎琪,擅寫港女心態,細膩中見主張,她跟麥浚龍已合作多次,《雌雄銅體》的超脫,堪稱「型格」之作,這首曲膺05年CASH最佳另類歌曲,今番以《彳亍》(音斥速,解作緩緩漫步)突擊,惜Juno的人生閱歷尚淺,唱不出曲中的況味,然而值得一讚,編曲的Jerold於 Intro用了雙軌疊聲,營造一絲神秘莫測的氛圍,引領聽眾的無限暇想。

方大同的音樂是自成一格,是本地難得的音樂奇才,他的父親是職業鼓手,母親是名填詞人茹嵐,自小培養他的音樂素質,他堅持以熟悉的國語歌,自創的R&B與靈魂樂面對觀眾,他跟王菀之、謝安琪同年出道,但論音樂創作生涯,他會是「玩」得最耐的一位創作人,不信?時間可以證明一切!三年沒有出碟的他,《好不容易》包辦曲、詞、編曲、唱,這首屬清新的小品作品,我嫌曲式清淡,不及他08年拿CASH最佳歌曲大獎《Love Song》予人意外驚喜。

《天梯》是一首令我催淚的深摯情歌,是根據四十多年前真人真事在重慶的劉國江與徐朝清夫婦的愛情天梯故事,男主角比女主角年輕十載,他無懼世人嘲諷,毅然用五十多年親自建成六千多呎的愛情梯級,引證他愛如深海,在歌曲背後的真正意義,是何其偉大!C All Star的釗峰演繹作曲人賴映彤這首作品,他的誠懇、不造作、不煽情的唱法,令我動容,尤以歌詞「幾多對持續愛到幾多歲當生命仍能為你豁出去……」,我淒然淚下!此曲在Youtube點擊已逾340萬次,相當厲害!賴映彤是位男仔頭的年青女子,她寫歌的企圖心,昭然若揭,曲式緊緻細密,亦見乾淨俐落,聽者隨着節奏揪動心窩,賴氏非常有才!


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Thursday, October 27, 2011

鍾氏兄弟新專輯接力主打歌《朋友 • 愛》預告片 Trailer

鍾氏兄弟新專輯【齊唱 • 吳秉堅之歌】接力主打歌《朋友 • 愛》預告片 Trailer

「朋友乃時常親愛, 弟兄為患難而生。」箴言17:17

《朋友 • 愛》
編曲:褚鎮東/Jezrael Lucero

最佳男歌手演繹 (鍾一諾)


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Monday, October 17, 2011



Original post can be found here.



吴秉坚、翁慧韵、陈芳荣是香港“齐唱新歌”基督福音民歌的先驱。钟一匡、钟一诺兄弟将吴秉坚历年创作的作品精选部分重新演绎,继上一张福音发烧大碟《钟声》联同一众乐手、歌手合作后,这张大碟贯彻“齐唱”的精神,集结一众香港乐坛前辈——泰迪罗宾(Teddy Robin and the Playboys)、刘以达(达明一派)、苏德华、单立文(Blue Jeans)、刘诺生(Citybeat)、吴洁梅、郭多加(赤道乐队)、曾路得,以多元的音乐风格及年轻人易亲近的形式再次拓宽香港福音音乐的版图。其中,与上海滩传奇“银嗓子”姚莉的合唱,以及翻唱赤道乐队代表作《无言者》、《赤道宣言》都是专辑的一大惊喜。(慕容小虫)

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

舊曲重繹 承傳經典:鍾氏兄弟《齊唱‧吳秉堅之歌》by 細言

Original post can be found here.



唱片最矚目之作,肯定是邀得一代歌后姚莉再次開腔。姚莉與鍾氏兄弟同是循道衛理香港堂會友,已有四十三年沒有公開演唱及錄音,素來推辭一切邀請。「姚莉是個很虔誠的信徒,常跟人分享上帝對她很好,一生與上帝同行。〈親愛主〉說上帝牽著我們的手走人生每一步,需要一個有豐富人生閱歷的人來唱,姚莉是不二之選。」經鍾氏兄弟誠邀之下,這位接近九十歲的歌者,欣然答應,「她對我們說,她想藉著這歌告訴人,主牽著她走過這一生。」與她合唱的Roger認為此曲的旋律富五十年代金曲的味道,因此以Nat King Cole的Standard(或Traditional Pop)風格重編。姚莉如醇酒的歌聲,洗盡〈玫瑰玫瑰我愛你〉的鉛華,真摰細訴基督的恩情。



走Bee Gees式七十年代Disco、Funk路線的〈赤道宣言〉,使用了過百條聲軌灌錄,編曲複雜,音樂肌理細緻。難得的是由原唱者赤道成員聯同本港基督教音樂中堅份子John Laudon(其前樂隊Citybeat當年為這歌編曲)、趙芬妮、蘇如紅、金培達、葉富生及Roger合唱,散發的那份熱情不減當年。

吳秉堅說,他在《齊唱》年代,製作過很搖滾的讚美歌曲,當時被人猛烈批評。相信與時俱進的教會,對今日劉以達以迷幻搖滾、post punk手法重編〈無言者〉,應該不會有太大反對吧。此曲對於聽慣搖滾樂的聽眾,不算新鮮,但post punk的bassline與gothic rock guitar的張力,與詩歌的碰擊,仍然帶來震撼。泰迪羅賓的招牌嗓子,唱出歌詞孤寂疏離的況味,令人動容。


〈生趣〉與〈神是愛〉這兩首廣為信徒熟悉的歌曲有不同的演繹。前者披上了Bossa Nova糖衣,由爵士歌姬李安琪(Angelita Li)與Roger唱和,教人驚豔;後段加插James Taylor作品secret of life的精粹與旋律,是上佳的加工。後者由Trinity(雷有曜、雷有暉、Barry Chung)演繹了成民歌版本,配合歌曲單純的結構,一切簡單就是美。精彩的兩曲殊途同歸,同樣是歌者對上帝的由衷讚美。


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我要做「特首」 by Jason Chan

文:Jason Chan〈CBN媒體企劃〉

Original post can be found here.











賽前預測:Miss So So貴為詩歌女泰山,聲震九天,歌感憶人!每次分享例必振奮人心,一呼百應加入天國軍團!可惜,對於心臟虛弱者未必負荷到這種持續靈命心肺復甦,可能構成生命威脅,所以只好忍痛勸籲如紅姊妹退選。Out!





多謝大家支持!I love you all!



F R E E H K C C M!

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